Living water

Third Sunday of Lent Year A

The Gospel today is not taken from Matthew but from John. Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well is only found in John’s Gospel. It is a long dialogue and it is very significant. There was long-standing hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time due to cultural and religious differences. Men and women especially strangers, were not expected to speak to each other in public so Jesus contravenes all sorts of taboos to ask a woman for a drink. Her bucket would have been ritually unclean to a Jew. But Jesus’ conversation is not about quenching His own thirst, it is an invitation to God’s gift of faith. 

The village well was an important meeting place for people and the fact that this woman is going to draw water from the well in the midday heat is an indication that she is excluded from the community. The disciples were shocked that Jesus would speak to such a woman, but during their conversation Jesus shows that he knows all about her sins and past life, she had many husbands, and he is inviting her to change. Jesus uses the encounter to explain that He has something amazing to offer her, “Living Water” which will sustain her in this life and in the next. The thirst of the Samaritan woman is very profound, she is open to the “Living Water” that Jesus offers. Like the Jews, the Samaritans believed that the Messiah would come and because of this, after speaking with Jesus she was able to accept His offer of the gift of faith and recognise him as the promised Messiah. After their conversation the woman became a disciple. Although she was an outsider and not a Jew she leads others to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, telling the other villagers about her encounter. Because of her witness many come to believe in Jesus. Her past does not hinder her from being a messenger of Good News. On reflection, we can ask ourselves some important questions regarding our own Christian faith. Do we really understand what believing in Jesus means to our spiritual life? Have you experienced a personal invitation to faith? Do I thirst for God in my daily life or is my faith just confined to Mass on Sunday? Our spiritual life is a journey which has many ups and downs, maybe moments when we feel excluded or disinterested in our faith, but Jesus never retracts His offer of “Living Water.” It is up to us to decide if we want to turn our experience of Jesus into a message for others. 

A reading from the Gospel of John (Jn 4:5-52)

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.”

Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed, the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one speaking with you.” At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So, the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.

Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.” Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, 

and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the saviour of the world.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. A good way to reflect on today’s gospel would be to find time this week to talk to your children about the Sacrament of Baptism. If you have photos you can get them out and show them explaining how important our Baptism is in our Christian life.
  4. If you don’t have any blessed holy water at home try to get some from your parish priest so that you can use it to bless your home and family members, warding off evil. St. Teresa of Avila was a great believer in the power of holy water. 
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from  St John (Jn 4:5-42) 
    ii. Candle
    iii. Cover the table with a violet cloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family. 


In today’s Gospel Jesus used our need for water to explain that he offers us eternal life in heaven with him. When we have faith in Jesus, we have eternal life. Listen to the words from John’s Gospel.

  • Water refreshes our body, but Jesus gives us “Living Water” which refreshes our soul. Believing in Jesus gives us everlasting life. 
  • A paper cup
  • Water droplets template
  • Yarn or string
  • Scissors/glue
  • Pencil colours
  • Hole punch

Animals, plants and human beings (us) need water to survive, without it we would die. In this way, water gives us life. Do you drink a lot of water? Doctors advise us to drink around eight glasses of water every day! Do you drink as many as that? We drink more water when we are running, playing sports or using up lots of energy which makes us feel hot. The part of the world where Jesus lived was very hot and dry. One day when Jesus was walking through a village called Sychar it was midday and it was very hot. Jesus sat down beside Jacob’s well. After a little while, a Samaritan woman came to the well to fill her water jar. Jesus asked the woman to give him a drink. His disciples had gone into the village to buy food. The woman was very surprised that Jesus had spoken to her because he was a Jew. The Jews and the Samaritans were enemies and did not speak to each other. “How can you ask me for a drink? Since you are a Jew and I a Samaritan.” Jesus answered, “if you knew who it is who is asking you for a drink, you would ask him for a drink, and he would give you living water. Everyone who drinks from this well will be thirsty again in a short while, but whoever drinks the water that I give will never get thirsty.  The woman said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming to this well to draw water.” Jesus was not talking about the water in the well, he was talking about “Living Water” (God’s love). Believing in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour is the “living Water” which gives us the gift of eternal life in heaven. Jesus continued talking with the woman and she believed that he was the Christ, and she went to tell many people about the good news of Jesus. Only Jesus through his love for us can give us this gift of life-giving water.  

An easy craft to help you remember today’s Gospel would be to make a cup of living water. Take a paper cup and write on the outside JESUS GIVES US LIVING WATER, you may decorate it also. Print the water droplets and cut them out carefully, you can colour them blue if you like.  On the droplets write Who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again. Punch a hole in the top of each droplet and tie them onto the yarn. Make a hole in the bottom of the cup thread the yarn through the hole and tape it to the inside of the cup. 

Listen to the song, Deep cries out.

Sign of the Cross 

Dear God, thank you for helping us to grow. Help us to grow in our minds in our bodies and in our faith. Help us to grow ever closer to you. Amen

In the Gospel today we hear about Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well and how he helps her to grow in faith just as we can grow in faith as children of God during the season of Lent.

  • Faith is a gift from God and Jesus links his offer of “Living Water” with his offer of faith
  • Only Jesus who is our Lord and Saviour can give this gift of life-giving water
  • A1 white craft card
  • Pictures of living things from magazines, used cards, internet.
  • Scissors/glue 
  • Colours

What do you need in order to grow? Water and food are both necessary for our bodies and our minds to grow, they help with our physical development. Besides growing physically we also need to grow spiritually, our soul is what makes us a living person, without a soul we would be like a rock (it is not alive). When we grow in faith we are taking care of our soul and when we follow Jesus we grow as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the element of water to teach us how we can grow in our faith. He has a conversation with a Samaritan whom he meets at a well in the village of Sychar. It is midday and very hot when Jesus sits down near the well of Jacob. A woman comes to the well to draw water and Jesus speaks to her, asking her for a drink of water. This is a strange thing for Jesus to do because she was a stranger and a sinner as well as being a Samaritan and Jews avoided Samaritans in Jesus’ time (think of the parable of the Good Samaritan). They talk about water. The woman thinks Jesus is talking about the water in the well but Jesus is talking about “Living Water.” He says that anyone who drinks this “Living Water” will never be thirsty again (he was talking about himself). At first the woman didn’t understand that Jesus was talking about the gift of faith and that his “Living Water” refreshes our soul and gives us the gift of eternal life in heaven. Yet, after listening to what Jesus had to say she came to believe in him as the Messiah. Later the woman went back to the village and told everyone about the Good News of Jesus, she invited others to meet Jesus. During Lent we are called to grow in our faith and think about how we can grow as children of God through prayer, acts of kindness and sacrifice. Who are the people that help you grow in your faith? Parents, grand-parents, teachers, catechists, and Priests can all help you. Nevertheless, it is Jesus alone who can give you the gift of life-giving water.

You can make a collage of living things, cutting out pictures from magazines and used cards sticking them on to a large craft card. Leave room at the bottom to write the ways Jesus as “Living-Water” helps us to grow.

Listen to the song, Peace Like a River.

Sign of the Cross

Dear God, thank you for the gift of faith, thank you for your great love and for your life-giving water which quenches my soul. Draw me nearer to you daily in this time of Lent. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen  

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.